MAST protesters say they have been sorely let down by the Government's reluctance to review local planning laws in the interests of public health.

Campaigners from Ashley Green Road Action Group, (AGRAG), in Chesham, say they are "very disappointed" with the Government's decision to postpone changes to mast planning policy until after the General Election, on May 5. Despite vociferous residents' campaigns, Chiltern District Council allowed Hutchinson 3 G to put up an unpopular 18-metre mast in Ashley Green Road a built-up residential area, next to a nursery, college and youth football training ground under delegated planning authority.

AGRAG spokesman John Healey said: "We are not against mobile phone technology but are really worried about the potential health risks these masts could have. The district council says they are unable to cite health risks as a valid planning reason to refuse masts..

"It would be nice if committees making decisions had a neutral mast expert advising them on positioning, liaising with people, to make sure they are in sensible, safe and mutually acceptable locations for everyone. It's a shame that Government is not prepared to make this an election issue."

Cheryl Gillan Conservative MP for Amersham and Chesham before parliament dissolved claims the Government has ignored people's valid concerns.

She said: "Last year they said they would do everything' to ensure no more phone masts near schools and hospitals." But two days after the Pope died, John Prescott's department said it was not going to make changes to planning rules on mobile phone masts before the election. The government was unavailable for comment.